Cyclists in Calgary now have a new way to travel through parts of downtown.

Dedicated two-way bicycle lanes, called a cycle track, opened Tuesday morning on Seventh Street S.W. between the Bow River pathway and Eighth Avenue.

Based on similar designs offered in Vancouver, Ottawa and Winnipeg, the cycle track has a concrete barrier between the vehicle and car lanes.

"It's the start of a whole new era for cycling in Calgary," said city transportation planner Don Mulligan.

Officials have recorded more than 12,000 trips on bicycles in and out of the city centre, up 35 per cent from 2006. Mulligan hopes people who have been hesitant about biking downtown will feel safer.


Bright green paint marks places where cyclists and motorists may cross paths on the new cycle track downtown. (CBC)

Cyclist Barry Clement often bikes downtown for meetings.

"I actually ride this road a lot. I'm looking forward to have a bike lane to ride," he said.

More cycle tracks are planned for downtown Calgary over the next few years.